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'Happy' Suryakumar helps India clinch T20 series against South Africa

Made it! India's Suryakumar Yadav successfully makes it to the crease. ©AFP

Guwahati (India) (AFP) - India survived an unbeaten 106 by David Miller to clinch their first ever Twenty20 series against South Africa at home with a 16-run victory in the second match on Sunday.

Suryakumar Yadav smashed 61 off 22 balls and put on a key 102-run stand with Virat Kohli, who made 49 not out, to drive India to 237-3 after being invited to bat first in Guwahati.

In reply, South Africa finished on 221-3 after a threatening 174-run unbeaten stand between Miller and Quinton De Kock (69) as the hosts took an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

The third T20 in Indore on Tuesday remains the final match for both teams ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia starting October 22.  

KL Rahul (57) and skipper Rohit Sharma (43) put on 96 runs to lay the foundations of the mammoth total -- India's fourth highest in T20 matches.

Suryakumar took over after the openers departed as he raced to his fifty in 18 balls to bring the packed home crowd to their feet.

"Just thinking not to play him anymore; just play him on the 23rd (of October, when India open their World Cup campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan)," Rohit said of the in-form batsman, who hit his third successive half-century.

"He is somebody who wants to play the game, wants to keep going out there and keep doing well.That is what keeps him happy and we want to keep him happy."

He and Kohli, who also took on the bowlers in his 28-ball knock, tore into the opposition attack before the partnership ended with a mix up and Suryakumar's run out at the non-striker's end.

Dinesh Karthik smashed an unbeaten 17 off seven balls as he finished with a flourish, hitting a four and two sixes in an 18-run final over.

Earlier Rahul survived a lucky inside edge that missed his stumps for four and he kept up the attack with shots all around the ground.

The openers got stuck into Anrich Nortje in a 21-run ninth over before Keshav Maharaj broke the stand with the wicket of Rohit, caught at deep mid-wicket.

Rahul, who was named man of the match but said Surya "should have gotten" the award, reached his fifty in 24 balls with a big six off Aiden Markram, an off-spinner.

But he soon departed lbw with Maharaj getting his second wicket.

Miller, 'one of the best'

South Africa suffered early setbacks after skipper Temba Bavuma got out for a seventh-ball duck off Arshdeep Singh who struck twice in his first over including Rilee Rossouw, also out for nought. 

A brief interruption in play due a floodlight failure did little to change the tourists' fortunes as Axar Patel sent back Aiden Markram for 33.

But Miller then attempted to do something out of the ordinary as he became the leading run-getter for South Africa in the T20 format.He has 2,050 runs in 106 T20 internationals.

"It shows why David Miller is one of the best T20 batters going around," Bavuma said of the big-hitter.

"He is looking good, feeling good and we can draw a lot of confidence from his performance today."

The left-handed duo of Miller, who hit his second T20 century in 46 balls, and De Kock played valiantly but the asking rate proved too much in the end.

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